Supreme Court Backs Anti-Abortion Pregnancy Centers in Free Speech Case

By Adam Liptak

Ruling for opponents of abortion on free speech grounds, the Supreme Court said on Tuesday that the State of California may not require religiously oriented “crisis pregnancy centers” to supply women with information about how to end their pregnancies.

The case was a clash between state efforts to provide women with facts about their medical options and First Amendment rulings that place limits on the government’s ability to compel people to say things at odds with their beliefs.

Justice Clarence Thomas, writing for the five-justice conservative majority, accepted the free-speech argument, ruling that the First Amendment prohibits California from forcing the centers, which oppose abortion on religious grounds, to post notices about how to obtain the procedure. The centers seek to persuade women to choose parenting or adoption.

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